I just rolled back into town today after taking a little trip with the wife and flipped on the TV to see the beginning of the bowl season for Texas college football teams and the start of another chapter of the Macaulay Culkin era in UNT football.
Yep, the Mean Green was left at home for the holidays again, while most of the rest of the family — Baylor, Texas Tech, Rice, Texas, TCU, Texas A&M and yes, even UNT’s neighbor who most Mean Green fans find just as obnoxious as Bud (SMU) all enjoy the spoils of going bowling again.
Houston and UTEP were also left at home, when it comes to long time Texas FBS members.
UNT hasn’t been to a bowl since the Glory Days (the New Orleans Bowl run from 2001-04), although the program seems to be headed in the right direction under Dan McCarney.
But make no mistake. Being one of the few left out does hurt UNT, especially when SMU and TCU, the two other teams in town, are headed to the post season.
Amazing factoid — UNT is now sitting on an eight-year drought. The next longest drought among the long-term Texas FBS teams is two years. UNT has a dry spell four times longer than the next longest slide, which belongs to UTEP.
Think about that for a minute.
I guarantee the players UNT is targeting do, because they are reminded of it by the Texas teams recruiting the same players, including SMU, which just took Fresno State to the woodshed, 43-10, tonight in Hawaii. The Mustangs have been to bowl games the last four years and have now won three of them.
By my count, UNT is 0-for-4 against SMU so far this recruiting season — TE Jeremiah Gaines, DE Justin Lawler, LB Nick Horton and WR Jarvis Baxter all picked SMU over UNT.
That’s not the end of the world. There are a lot of good players out there.
For the long-term good of the program, there is little doubt one factor will have to change.
UNT can’t keep sitting at home for the bowl season and not see the competition in Texas continue to pull away.